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Thai unrest shuts border gaps

Thai soldiers prepare to patrol at the Army Club in Bangkok yesterday after Thailand’s army declared martial law following months of sometimes deadly anti-government protests
Thai soldiers prepare to patrol at the Army Club in Bangkok yesterday after Thailand’s army declared martial law following months of sometimes deadly anti-government protests. AFP

Thai unrest shuts border gaps

Thai authorities ordered all unofficial border-crossing points in Banteay Meanchey province to be closed yesterday after the Thai army imposed nationwide martial law.

All official international crossing points, including the gates at Poipet, Malai and Boeung Trakourn, remain open, according to Banteay Meanchey Governor Korsum Saroeut, who said Thai officials had informed him of the mandated closures on Tuesday morning.

“Security measures have been increased on the Thai side of the border, and they added more forces,” he told the Post. “People who cross the border into Thailand need proper documents, such as border pass or passports to avoid problems.”

According to Saroeut, the local villagers and migrant workers who normally travel across the border unofficially – and illegally – through “corridor gates” would no longer be able to access those informal crossing areas.

Kham Vannak, commander of Border Infantry Police Unit 891 along the Thai border in Banteay Meanchey, confirmed that the corridor gates were closed yesterday.

“They did not say how long the closure will last,” he said, adding that his border police have barred villagers from crossing illegally due to security fears. “We at the Cambodian side have also strengthened our forces along the border and are closely monitoring the situation.”

At other official border checkpoints into Thailand, including in Battambang, Preah Vihear and Pailin, crossings proceeded as usual yesterday, though fewer corridor gates exist and informal workers cross in those provinces, according to officials.

Chim Chamnan, chief of Cambodian-Thai Border Relations Office in charge of crossings in Pailin and Battambang provinces, said his Thai counterpart had not informed him of any planned gate closures.

“We still contact each other normally and people can still cross in and out,” he said.

In Preah Vihear province, border security remained calm and troops did not show any sign of irregularity or reaction to the martial law declaration yesterday, according to Colonel Meas Yoeun, deputy military commander of the province.

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